Add dates
Things to do in

Vancouver Island

Our most recommended things to do in Vancouver Island

Victoria: 3-Hour Zodiac Whale-Watching Tour

1. Victoria: 3-Hour Zodiac Whale-Watching Tour

After being collected from your downtown accommodation in a comfortable shuttle bus, you will venture down to the harbor where you will meet with your boat. After meeting your guides for the day, you will then depart from Victoria, setting off on your 3-hour whale-watching tour. Between April and October, you will have a greater than 95% success rate of spotting whales, including both transient and resident orcas, humpback, minke, and gray whales. Other wildlife you may encounter include Dall’s and harbor porpoises, harbor and elephant seals, and otters and marine birds such as cormorants and bald eagles. The zodiac vessels used on your tour are definitely recommended for the more wild-at-heart. You can let the wind blow in your hair and be exposed to the true west-coast elements in an open style, 12-passenger vessel. At the conclusion of your exhilarating tour, you will be returned back to the harbor, at which point you will be driven back to your accommodation in downtown Victoria.

From Victoria: Whale Watching 3-Hour Trip on Covered Boat

2. From Victoria: Whale Watching 3-Hour Trip on Covered Boat

After meeting at the pier or being collected from your Victoria hotel or accommodation, you will begin your carbon-neutral tour led by certified marine naturalists whose knowledge and passion for Vancouver Island’s marine wildlife is unequaled in the industry. Come aboard to experience the wild! All tours are three hours in length and peak whale watching season is April through October. In this peak season, there is a greater than 95% success rate of spotting whales, including both transient and resident orcas, humpbacks, minke, and gray whales. Other wildlife you may encounter include Dall’s and harbor porpoises, harbor and elephant seals, otters and marine birds such as cormorants and bald eagles. Whilst onboard the boat you will also be offered complimentary coffee and tea, onboard bathrooms, certified marine naturalists, and indoor and outdoor viewing areas. In the event of an unlucky tour, you will be invited to join again for a complimentary second whale watching tour to bring your dreams of seeing these magnificent animals to life.

Victoria, BC: 3-Hour Ultimate Whale & Marine Wildlife Tour

3. Victoria, BC: 3-Hour Ultimate Whale & Marine Wildlife Tour

The waters off Victoria, British Columbia are known as the Salish Sea. Discover its wonders and rich marine environment with this ultimate whale and marine wildlife tour. Board a brand new high-speed coastal explorer boat and set sail to look for orcas (also known as killer whales), humpbacks, harbor seals, California sea lions, and over 127 species of marine birds!  Take a tour of the west coast aboard a luxurious coastal explorer, with two outside viewing areas and a fully heated cabin. Enjoy complimentary coffee and hot chocolate as you set off on an adventure to learn all about the local marine wildlife and important landmarks. From playful orcas to giant humpbacks, your experience is sure to be memorable. Discover the marine wildlife in the waters off Victoria with the help of marine biologists and learn about efforts to establish Victoria as a world-renowned whale watching destination. 

Nanaimo: Panoramic Seaplane Tour

4. Nanaimo: Panoramic Seaplane Tour

Experience the excitement of seaplane flying with this 20-minute flight. Depart from Nanaimo’s historic waterfront on this ideal introduction to seaplane aviation. Explore your surroundings from a new perspective and take in panoramic views of Harbour City with Mount Benson as its backdrop. Enjoy aerial vistas of some of the southern Gulf Islands including Newcastle Island Provincial Park located right offshore. Don’t forget to be on the lookout for wildlife such as seals and sea lions on the rocky coastlines along the Strait of Georgia.

Victoria Panoramic Seaplane Tour

5. Victoria Panoramic Seaplane Tour

Fly high above scenic Victoria BC and explore its beautiful scenery by seaplane. This thrill-a-minute tour will reveal a spectacular landscape and unforgettable aerial views. The Panoramic Seaplane Tour of Victoria will glide over the Olympic Mountains and along the Victoria waterfront to the white sand beaches of James and Sydney Islands. From here the tour heads north to the Saanich Peninsular and over the famous Butchart Gardens before returning back to Victoria Harbor. It is an experience not to be missed, especially if time is limited in Victoria and the photo opportunities just cannot be bettered. A fantastic day out for aviation lovers.

Campbell River: Whale & Wildlife Discovery Cruise

6. Campbell River: Whale & Wildlife Discovery Cruise

Spend a day on the water and discover local wildlife on this Campbell River cruise. Visit the Salish Sea, Discovery Passage, and Johnstone Strait. With an abundance of wildlife in the area, you are likely to encounter many animals both on land and at sea. Choose from two vessel options for your cruise. A covered vessel with indoor seating offers a good option for families. Alternatively, a zodiac-style vessel offers a good option for those who like being outdoors and want to feel the wind through their hair. Hop aboard your chosen vessel, then sit back and relax. Keep an eye out for humpback whales, killer whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, bears, Steller sea lions, and more. Learn from an on-board naturalist and listen to the sounds of whales through hydrophones. While it might not be possible to guarantee you’ll see all of these animals on your tour, this tour offers a great opportunity to see everything that is possible.

Campbell River: Whales, Wildlife & Culture Tour

7. Campbell River: Whales, Wildlife & Culture Tour

Go in search of a variety of fascinating wildlife species which can be found off the coast of Vancouver Island, including humpback whales, orcas (killer whales), porpoises, dolphins, sea lions, otters, bald eagles, and a variety of marine birds. The tour vessel includes both indoor and outdoor seating options. Take the outdoor adventure seats that allow for wind-in-your-face exploring and wildlife watching. Inside the warm and protected cabin, find comfortable seats with large windows and a bathroom. As you explore the area, learn more about the rich history of the First Nations of Campbell River and the Discovery Islands. Learn about the tribes who have resided in the region for centuries including the Homalco, Klahoose, Tla’amin, K’ómoks, Wei Wai Kum, We Wai Kai, and more. The guides and skippers will share their expert knowledge of history, legends, stories, and culturally significant sites throughout the excursion.

Victoria: Half-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tour

8. Victoria: Half-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Tour

Experience Victoria in a unique way on board an open-top double-decker bus. Depart from right outside the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel then set off on a hop-on-hop-off tour to explore this charming city. From China Town to Oak Bay there is something for everyone.  As you ride the bus, listen to the fully narrated tour and gain an in-depth understanding of Victoria's local history and best attractions. Feel free to hop-off the bus at 15 different stop destinations - giving you an array of options to explore the city further.  Stops include Empress Hotel, Chinatown (Old Town), Bastion Square, Steamship Terminal, Fisherman's Wharf, Ogdeon Point (Breakwater), Beacon Hill Park, Mile 0 / Terry Fox, Christ Church Cathedral, Craigdarroch Castle, Oak Bay Municipal Hall, Oak Bay Marina, Oak Bay Hotel, Cook Street Village, and Chateau Victoria / Marriot / Dbl Tree.

Telegraph Cove: 3-Hour Whale Watching Tour in a Zodiac Boat

9. Telegraph Cove: 3-Hour Whale Watching Tour in a Zodiac Boat

After meeting your skipper at the dock, get suited up in a cozy cruiser suit, ensuring your comfort and safety for the duration of the trip. This 3-hour whale-watching tour boasts sightings of just about everything there is to see, from wolves roaming nearby islands to groups of predatory transient orcas and breaching humpback calves. Your ride on one of the zipping Zodiac-style boats will be nearly as exciting as seeing the whales.  Each of the boats seats 12, and there are great views from every seat. Once out of the former fishing village of Telegraph Cove, you’ll have the opportunity to see a variety of species of sea life, including orcas, humpback whales, grey whales, minke whales, porpoises, dolphins, sea lions, elephant seals, otters, and bald eagles. Every tour is guided by a Transport Canada-approved skipper, who will provide information and commentary on all of the wildlife you see. If you don’t see a whale on your trip, you’ll be entitled to a free tour until you have a successful sighting.

From Vancouver: Butchart Gardens & Victoria Sightseeing Tour

10. From Vancouver: Butchart Gardens & Victoria Sightseeing Tour

Meet in central Vancouver and take a 90-minute scenic cruise aboard the ferry to Vancouver Island. Sail through the Strait of Georgia and enjoy the scenery. Be sure to visit the outside decks as it’s not uncommon to see all kinds of sea life, including porpoises and whales. Arrive on Vancouver Island and first visit the beautiful Butchart Gardens. Explore this world-renowned botanical garden which was once a quarry, featuring the Japanese Garden, the Ross Fountain, an Italian Garden, and other floral displays. Continue the trip with a ferry ride to the city of Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Discover the main sights of Victoria with your guide, starting at Mile O. See Ogden Point, Fisherman’s Wharf, Empress Hotel, and historic Chinatown, including the famous Fan Tan Alley. Later, enjoy some free time to explore on your own or book an additional optional activity. Your guide will be on hand to assist you with suggestions on the best restaurants, breweries, shops, and hidden gems. Relax as you cruise back to the mainland in the evening, arriving back in Vancouver at approximately 9:30 PM.

Other Sightseeing Options in Vancouver Island

Want to discover all there is to do in Vancouver Island? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Vancouver Island

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,149 reviews

The guides were knowledgeable and great. They showed us what was advertised. It was a fantastic excursion where memories were made.

Fantastic activity. Professionally run with a personal touch from start to finish. Would highly recommend and worth every penny.

Very enjoyable 2 hours! Appreciated seeing some unique spots we wouldn’t have found on our own. Tastings are superb too!!

WE were able to see multiple whales and Bill and Joe were very good. The open boat ride was very smooth and comfortable.

Amazing trip, really fun experience. We were lucky enough to see a pod of transient orcas breach and tail slap!